Environment - Protected Areas


Declarations - Conferences
Cultural Heritage
Environment protection
Light pollution
The right to the stars
Climate Change

La Palma - Biosphere Reserve

Astronomy and clean skies

Over the last decades, the degree and intensity of artificial light at night has increased to such an extent that no-one can deny its present-day negative effects on habitats and species. A distinction must be made between the consequences of "astronomical light pollution", which affects vision of the night sky considered as part of the landscape, and "ecological light pollution", referring to alteration of natural light regimes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Extensive information is now available on the effects of artificial lighting on certain migratory species guided by star-light, or concerning such obvious phenomena as the mass mortality through dehydration suffered by certain sea turtles disorientated by light on their home beaches. But the spreading out of artificial light into the natural environment has other, obvious or less known, consequences. Among them, the noteworthy alteration of ascent and descent cycles of marine plankton, affecting the feeding of marine species, or the undesirable effects on population balance in certain species. Artificial light disturbance on the huge nocturnal insect fauna should be particularly emphasised.

Protected nature areas, by definition, are preferential spaces where natural nocturnal light protection initiatives should be developed. To this end, emblematic spaces such as Biosphere Reserves and Ramasar sites can actually play an important role as laboratories.

Here below are listed some references on this new dimension of ecosystem, species and natural landscape protection:

NPS Night Sky Team (USA)
The NPS Night Sky Team was formed in 1999 to address increasing alarm over the loss of night sky quality throughout the network of US National Parks. The Night Sky Team functions as a center of expertise that provides advice, guidance, and technical support in characterizing and preserving park lightscapes.
A "Natural Lightscape" is a place or environment characterized by the natural rhythm of the sun and moon cycles, clean air, and of dark nights unperturbed by artificial light. Natural lightscapes, including dark night skies, are not only a resource unto themselves, but are an integral component of countless park experiences.

More Information...>

Parks Canada experience.
Parks Canada is working towards the control of outdoor lighting and the reduction of light pollution in national parks, and endorses the needs for protection of nocturnal ecology and for more science in that field.  Parks Canada manages the national parks which are the core areas of several Canadian biosphere reserves, and also provides the Canadian secretariat of the Biosphere Reserve Programme.
More information...>

Ecolight Life-EU Project
L'Albufera Nature Park, Valencia
A project implemented in the framework of the EU's LIFE programme, to fight against artificial lighting pollution in L'Albufera Nature Park (Valencia-Spain).
More information (ES)...>

Dark Sky Parks and Preserves (IDA)
The IDA (International Dark Sky Association) has promoted a large range of activities related with night sky protection in several protected areas.
More information...>

Torrance Barrens - Dark Sky Reserve
The Torrance Barrens is a Conservation Reserve consisting of 1990 hectares of crown land south-east of Bala, which is administered by the Province of Ontario. The first of its kind in Canada, the Torrance Barrens is now officially recognized as a Dark Sky Reserve. The dark sky designation was a project was developed by Muskoka Heritage Foundation.
More information...>

Reduction of mortality of Caretta caretta in the Greek seas
(EC Life Project)

Throughout the project, Archelon was very vigilant about activities that might have a negative impact on the coastal habitat and/or the species. For example, actions towards beach cafes also took place to avoid sound and light pollution,
particularly at night, and municipal light sources disorienting hatchlings were reduced, with some public and private light sources turned off, particularly during the hatching season.
ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece...>

The Urban Wildlands Group
The Urban Wildlands Group is dedicated to the conservation of species, habitats, and ecological processes in urban and urbanizing areas.
More information...>

Fatal Ligth Awareness Programme
Programa de protección de especios migratorias de los efectos de la luz artificial.
More information...>


Model Lighting Ordinance for marine turtle protection.
The state of Florida developed a model lighting ordinance (62B-55, Florida Administrative Code) to guide local governments in creating lighting ordinances.
More information...>


Dark Sky Sites in Canada
Parks Canada and the RASC have created two designations: Dark Sky Preserve and Dark Sky Reserve. A Dark Sky Preserve is one with very dark skies and virtually no sky glow on the horizon. A Dark Sky Reserve has some sky glow visible from within the area and some fully shielded lighting (but at minimal illumination levels).
More information...>

The Plight with Light Project
The Office of the Tyrolean Ombudsman for the Environment in spring 2000 to launch a project called “The Plight with Light” (original German title: “Die Helle Not”). The initial goal was to protect the night-active moths in the Tyrol. As an active contribution to the protection of the species.
More information...>


Management of Hatchling Misorientation on Urban Beaches
of Broward County, Florida:
Effects of Lighting Ordinances and Decreased Nest Relocation
Michele Blackburn, Curtis Burney and Louis Fisher
Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center, Dania Beach. Broward County Environmental Protection Department Biological Resources Division Marine Section.
More information...>

Other related initiatives and references:
Ecology of the Night...>

Dark Skies Protection and Boreal Forest Conservation...>

Arches National Park preserve...>

Save our Stars!!...>

Dark Sky Campaign. Region of Murcia...>

Potawatomi Wildlife Park...>

The Threat to wildlife (CfDS)...>

Potawatomi Wildlife Park (Dark Sky Preserve)...>

Lake Hudson State Park (Dark Sky Preserve)...>

Manitoulin Island National Dark Sky Sanctuary (Ontario, Canada)...>

Parc Naturel Régional du Gâtinais français (FR)...>

SCOTOBIOLOGY - The Science of Dark-Dependent Biological Systems...>

© Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, Inc.

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